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Wellness > Mental Health

Speak Your Truth!: Why a Voice Memo Diary Helped Me in More Ways Than One

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Diaries, journals, sticky notes, online documents, etc. — I’ve tried them all when it comes to getting down my thoughts and feelings on things, especially in the moment. And while they worked in some instances, it was hard to capture exactly what I wanted to say and my hands could never move as fast as my brain when it came to spitting out thoughts. Until one day, when I was mindlessly fiddling with my phone that I accidentally clicked the “Voice Memo” app and had the grand idea to keep a voice memo diary. Ever since then, I can experience journaling in a whole new way.

I can finally save everything that comes to mind when I need to share my personal feelings without the burden of needing to write everything down. It’s a known fact that our hands are slower than our brain when thoughts are forming. It’s also known that typing and writing, as both physical acts of movement, are slower than speaking. So when I’m either extremely emotional and need to get something down ASAP, or I’m having tons of thoughts floating through my mind at once that I feel need to be documented, opting for speaking about is a go-to because of how quick and easy it is. You don’t need to find somewhere to sit and jot down anything because it doesn’t require that physical effort to set up. I often like to do it when I’m walking to and from classes because I have those extra 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted, free-time where I can talk to my heart’s content.

The tone and raw emotions I’m feeling are conveyed so much better through speaking. I can hear the inflections in my voice when I have a change in thinking, or the cracks heard when I fight back tears, or the pure laughter when I make a joke to myself. I can listen back on those moments and truly understand what I was feeling during those times. I can compare the different timelines of me talking about the same things and see how much I’ve changed by the way I’ve addressed those similar topics. It’s interesting, too, because I can hear how I sound to other people over the recording. There’s a phenomenon that we don’t fully understand, but it states that the way we sound in recordings is different from how we sound naturally speaking, possibly because of our bone structure or because we aren’t used to hearing our disembodied speech. I love having the ability to hear what I’ve said previously and reflect on what exactly I may have been going through at the time based on the I sound.

This may not be applicable to everyone, but having these voice memos saved helped me recount some things that I wanted to discuss while in therapy. Not only does speaking about something help you retain the memory of it, but it also helps me specifically prepare what I want to talk about in therapy to maximize my time with my practitioner. Sometimes, after talking through something on my own through my voice memos, I realize that the problem isn’t as big as I thought or it was just something I needed to babble about before finding out the solution. I can wade through all the unimportant stuff and focus on talking about my big issues with a professional, which I feel has made my sessions more productive.

Something a little more specific to me, is I love how neat and organized it can be. On the iPhone, you can speak your voice memo for however long you want and it marks down the date, place, and how long it lasts. You can also create titles for each memo if you want a reminder of what you may have talked about in that memo. I personally like to name mine after the thing I talked about most as a refresher of what to expect when I listen to it again. It’s also all on your phone in an app dedicated to speaking, so no clutter of endless journals or mixed in with online documents you keep.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the pen-and-paper method of journaling because the physicality of my writing invokes something wonderful in me as well. But, I feel the voice memos are a great alternative for the reasons listed above.

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Isabella Tisdale

U Mass Amherst '23

I love to read, dance, and have great conversations with great people.